Boxship building spree continues, problems loom ahead

LINER operators and ship-owning companies continue placing more orders, mostly at Asian yards, despite the rising price of newbuild container ships, leading to an ever-larger spate of new vessels in 2023-25.


According to Alphaliner, capacity on order has now reached 27.9 per cent of on-the-water capacity. The ratio was a mere 8.2 per cent at the cycle low in October 2020, reports New York's FreightWaves.


Total capacity on order now tops 7 million TEU and the next two years will see major capacity infusions: 2.45 million TEU in 2023 and 2.74 million TEU - 9.8 per cent and 10.9 per cent, respectively, of on-the-water tonnage.


As orders mount, tonnage for 2025 delivery is rising too. It's now up to 1.13 million TEU. That's almost quadruple what was due for delivery in 2025 at the beginning of this year.


Stifel shipping analyst Ben Nolan said: "Last week, 13 more container ships were ordered, bringing the total for the year to 239. This is already the fifth largest year on record for container-ship orders and we are only halfway through the year."


According to Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence, "The fact that it takes two or more likely three years to build supply is something that's always been a problem in this industry. [As a result] we've always had booms and busts.


"It's not uncommon for carriers to overshoot the market. That's part of the model. You overshoot a bit and it balances out over time. And it does feel like we've overshot."


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Boxship building spree continues, problems loom ahead
Boxship building spree continues, problems loom ahead